Irish News

Thursday 10 July 2014

Paramedic had to call 999 for help after fall at ambulance base

By Louise Walsh

Published 23/12/2013|07:58

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A paramedic who was injured in a fall at an ambulance base had to dial 999 to get help from the fire service.

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The incident happened at the HSE base in Navan when the paramedic was working alone because no cover was provided for another paramedic who was on annual leave, according to a source within the region.

The paramedic had signed on at the HSE base for night duty on December 9.

But while on duty he slipped and fell.

As there was no one else in the building and he was unable to move, the injured HSE worker had to use his own mobile phone to ring 999 for help from the ambulance control centre, according to the source.

An ambulance was dispatched and arrived within 15 minutes but needed back-up in order to spinally immobilise the patient and move him onto a stretcher.

But because there was no back-up ambulance available at the time, the fire service had to be called in to help.

They raced to the ambulance base where they helped move the patient onto a stretcher and into the ambulance where he was taken to Our Lady's Hospital in Drogheda for treatment.

Although the incident occurred on December 9 last, the events only came to light in recent days.

It is understood that the paramedic is still unable to work due to his injuries.

Sinn Fein TD for Meath West Peadar Toibin said: “Here we have an example where cuts are so damaging to the ability of staff to carry out their role that a supposed funding saving only leads to injury and extra expense in the long run.

“It is absolutely shocking that the burden of the health service cuts are being placed squarely on the shoulders of the front-line emergency staff to their physical detriment,” he added.

In a statement, the HSE said: “The National Ambulance Service confirms that Ambulance Control requested assistance from the fire service to this call-out, as a matter of routine and as per normal practice.

“While the National Ambulance Service does not comment on any individual member of staff, it can confirm that paramedics can work on their own and the HSE lone-worker policy provides guidance.”

hnews@herald.ie

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